Home Agriculture 4,000 turkeys to be culled in second bird flu flock

4,000 turkeys to be culled in second bird flu flock

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4,000 turkeys to be culled in second bird flu flock

Bird flu has been identified in a second turkey flock in Co Monaghan, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed.

Stringent biosecurity remains key to protecting poultry and captive bird flocks from disease, the department advises. 

Restriction zones were put in place over a week ago following the first confirmation of bird flu in a turkey flock in the county.

This involved a protection zone of at least 3km radius from the infected holding and a surveillance zone of at least 10km radius.

The Department of Agriculture said that there is now a slight extension to the existing restriction zones, with movements of poultry and poultry products within and through the zones only permitted under licence from the department. 

Poultry keepers with flocks located within the restriction zones are legally obliged to comply with zone requirements.

Poultry farmers have been on high alert for some time now and earlier this month, they were ordered to house all poultry due to the risk of bird flu.

Regulations brought in require all flock keepers to confine all poultry and captive birds in their possession or under their control in a secure building to which wild birds or other animals do not have access and to apply particular biosecurity measures.

This measure was taken following the confirmation of the disease in wild birds along the coast since July, increasing risk levels due to colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours, as well as recent confirmation of the disease in a wild bird inland.

Speaking in the Seanad this week, senator Tim Lombard said that it is “unfortunate” that bird flu has been identified in these two flocks in Co Monaghan in recent days.

He described bird flu as a “huge issue” that has a significant impact on the poultry industry, particularly in the northern half of the country, where many of the units are based.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue confirmed that the second case identified in Co Monaghan “is quite close to the first case, so it makes very limited difference to the 10km and 3km zones” that are in place.

He added that the Department of Agriculture is taking the threat of bird flu to flocks and poultry farmers “very seriously”.

Mr McConalogue acknowledged that it is an “important time of year in the run-up to Christmas for turkeys”.

“Certainly with the measures we have put in place, I am confident there won’t be any supply issue,” Mr McConalogue said.

“It’s very unfortunate we have seen two turkey farms affected so far, both have been around the 4,000 turkey number, so it’s very small in the context of our national volume.

“But obviously, it’s significant for the two farms concerned.

“It’s certainly possible we could see more cases,” Mr McConalogue added.

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